Lawsuit Against St. Cloud Dismissed by Stearns County Judge
ST. CLOUD -- A lawsuit against the city of St. Cloud over the sale of land in Heritage Park to build the new Costco store has been dismissed.
Jon Austin has been a spokesman for the group Citizens for Government Accountability who filed the lawsuit. He says the Stearns County judge dismissed the lawsuit this week due to a technicality.
With all respect to the court, we think this is too important of an issue that it should not turn on a technicality. There's a $5 million subsidy we believe was granted in this and the size of that subsidy and the way it was granted we think deserves a substantive review not a dismissal on a technicality.
Stearns County Judge Shan Wang dismissed the suit because the suing party did not file the lawsuit within 30 days of St. Cloud's May 7, 2018 reply to the initial complaint. Judge Wang ruled because the suing party missed the deadline, the lawsuit is untimely and therefore the court lacked jurisdiction.
In Wang's ruling, he notes the city of St. Cloud maintained the position that there was no $5-million subsidy which would have triggered a 180-day window to file suit rather than a 30-day deadline.
The two sides met in court back on October 25th where the city along with Costco asked the judge to dismiss the case.
Austin says the group could file an appeal of the judge's decision, but they need time to decide whether they want to do that.
The group of St. Cloud residents suing the city over the sale of land in Heritage Park to developers to build the Costco Store have made themselves public back in September. They are Chris Rice, Andy Fritz, P-IKE Investments, Chris Coborn, Mike Steil, and Tim Torborg
The lawsuit was filed in August of 2018 by a group calling themselves Citizens for Government Accountability.
Costco, in court documents, joined the lawsuit in December of last year because the plaintiffs are suing only the city, even though they knew Costco and the city had signed a purchase agreement.